McDowell, Austin J. (1920-2013) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: McDowell, Austin J. (1920-2013)


Historical Note: Austin Johnston McDowell was born September 15, 1920, in Heyworth, IL, and died at the age of 93 on December 4, 2013, in Urbana, IL. McDowell was a Professor Emeritus and former director of the University of Illinois School of Music. McDowell received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music from the University of Illinois. After completing his Bachelor's degree, he served as a United States Navy pilot during World War II, after which he returned to UIUC to complete his Master's degree. On January 23, 1947, he married Ellen Jane Attebery, with whom he had seven children. In 1946, along with being a clarinetist with the Illinois Woodwind Quintet and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, McDowell was appointed Woodwind Instructor at the UIUC School of Music and University Bands. He eventually became Chairman of the Wind Instrument Division and later served as the Director of the School of Music, before retiring in 1988. Over the summers, McDowell also taught at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, MI, The Bemidji Summer Camp in Bemidji, MI, and Western State University in Gunnison, CO. He attended Holy Cross Church in Champaign and was a member of Phi Mu Alpha, Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, and the Music Educators National Conference. Despite being struck with Alzheimer's disease later in life, McDowell found great satisfaction in his work with his students and left a legacy of patience, good humor, courage, and grace.
Sources: Obituary for Austin McDowell (2013) & Memorial Program (2014)
Note Author: Sandy Kroeker



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